Continental Cup roundup: Smith strikes as Birmingham stun top-flight Brighton

<span>Photograph: Nigel French/PA</span>
Photograph: Nigel French/PA

Brighton’s Continental Cup campaign got of to the worst possible start with the WSL side slipping to a 3-2 defeat at Championship Birmingham in Group C.

Libby Smith opened the scoring for the home side before Jade Pennock doubled the advantage eight minutes after half-time. Lee Geum-min pulled one back on the hour but Lucy Quinn was quick to restore the two-goal cushion and Danielle Carter’s 89th-minute penalty was too little, too late.

“We knew we’d have to be very good out of possession today and we defended our box really well,” said the Birmingham coach Darren Carter. “Overall it’s a fantastic performance. I’m really proud of the players because they showed real confidence and trusted themselves.”

There was very nearly a double for Championship sides over their WSL rivals in Group C but West Ham were rescued by Dagny Brynjarsdottir’s injury-time equaliser against London City Lionesses. Brynjarsdottir’s team then picked up a bonus point with a 10-9 win in an epic shootout.

“The players showed brilliant character to bring the game back to 2-2, and obviously winning the penalty shootout is another big positive,” said the West Ham coach Paul Konchesky.

Tottenham bounced back from their 4-0 defeat in the north London derby a week ago by getting the better of an all-WSL Group E encounter with Reading at the Select Car Leasing Stadium.

Ashleigh Neville scored the opener for Spurs and Nikola Karczewska gave the visitors a cushion just before the break. Natasha Dowie scored a consolation for the home side from the penalty spot. “It’s a huge step forward from last week and that’s the most important thing,” said the Spurs coach Rehanne Skinner.

In Group B Leicester made a winning start with a 3-0 victory over Blackburn, while Liverpool edged to a 1-0 win over Sunderland.

And there was plenty of drama between two Championship sides in Group A, with Sheffield United coming back from 2-0 down to draw 3-3 at Durham before the home side prevailed on penalties.